VIQI - End of the line
VIQI have just sent out emails detailing the closure of the scheme later this year.
Thoughts? Reflections on their contribution? Will you transfer to a club-run scheme?
What a fantastic job those who have set up, run and contributed to VIQI since 1999, have done for the club, with over £1.2m given to support the club. Hopefully, whatever the Club sets up to replace VIQI will be equally, or perhaps more, successful in raising funds. Whatever is set up, needs to be clearly independent of the Club and run by its members. Hopefully, the Club will consult with fans about any ideas that are under consideration. There have been several suggestions on this site about supporter groups, all worthy of consideration.
As a fan, I would like to place on record my thanks to those who set up VIQI and run it on a voluntary basis since 1999, for the invaluable contribution that they have made to Widnes over the years.
Agree with that Frank. A considerable achievement.
The transition will have to be done carefully. As you say, it needs to remain independent of the powers that be at the club. Those who provide these funds should have a bigger say in how it operates. For all the good VIQI has done, I was always concerned about the lack of any real input from us, or provision of some basic accounts. It can't have been that difficult to do and caused a lot of speculation as to why.
I hope the idea of a supporters club, floated on here, is discussed at some point. When you think that supporters are the main source of income through season ticket sales, walk up ticket sales, VIQI contributions and merchandise sales, its not such a far fetched idea. Not everyone can spare hard earned cash I know, but I'd certainly be willing to pay a little more for that. I'm sure there are others who would also be willing to. They also need to review the position of the VIQI board member and how the new arrangement will reflect the funds us supporters put in.
The club needs to consult season ticket holders and VIQI members before putting forward a fait acompli on the way forward. If they have the info, they should also include lapsed season ticket holders - In fact, anyone who has ever contributed funds to the club. They need to get this right. If they do, it could really maximise financial support for the club. But get it wrong and it could be a disaster.
Looking forward to hearing from them in the coming months.....
There have been rumours of a falling out between VIQI and the club for a number of weeks. It is a real shame that it has decided it is time for VIQI to end.
There is no doubt it has been a massive success in terms of the amount of funding it has given to the club over many years, especially following our administration. The work done by Jason and Joanne over a long period of time must be commended.
The scheme has often come under criticism due to a lack of communication with its members and I fail to see what putting together a committee achieved and in fact having more people involved has ultimately led to it ending.
With donations of £120k this year and next guarenteed, it is essential that something is put in place to replace it. Without this funding it could be a fatal blow to the club going forward. As mentioned by other posters, for me it must be independent from the club and have much better communication.
The email from VIQI points toward a club-run scheme, rather than something independent. One thing is for certain, the transfer of the vast majority of VIQI members to a new scheme is absolutely critical to the future of the club in the absence of a major financial backer. That income has become literally the life blood of WVRLFC in recent times.
If there are large scale losses from the scheme during transition, it could be a defining point in our history. And not in a good way.
The schemes independence from the club is what made it attractive to a lot of people IMO
When we have constantly had owners and management that can not be trusted to spend the clubs revenue responsibly the independence of the scheme was a fail safe to ensure at least some funds were spent with due diligence applied
I am now wondering if the closure of the scheme and the rumoured falling out is due to VIQI continuing to apply the mantra that their contribution was spent on playing staff and not elsewhere as would be the case if the clubs board were in charge
However I do echo the sentiments of others here in that they have done a fantastic job for a long time and it's a shame to see them go
When they had an unelected seat on the board it was always going to end this way.
I was involved in Viking Quids In in the early days,Meeting at The Albion Graeme West Tony Chambers and players like Jamie Bloem used to regularly attend,I presented the first cheque to the club on the pitch to secure a contract for Martin Crompton.The club was in that much of a state at the time We had to find a Bicycle for Sean Richardson to do his rehab from a broken leg! The Job Jason and his team have done over the last 23 years has been fantastic and should be commended as should the fans who have put their hard earned over that time,How many clubs supporters either in the UK or Australia have contributed nearly £1.2 Million to their club? It’s a fantastic achievement
The clubs response to this indicates that it will look to take it on themselves. I agree a major loss of members could be extremely detrimental to the future of the club.
The other thing that is interesting is that the club seem to be suggesting that the lack of transparency is what has caused the issues.
As a member of the scheme it has always been my concern that there was a lack of transparency and never any proper accounts showing month by month income and expense. This was always brushed over by publicising the great numbers that had been donated to the club.
But members should of been entitled to see more details and never have. A simple 'x' members paying 'y' amount in Jan, 10 leavers in Feb so x members paying y amount. Then how much we paid in to the club and when. Also if there where any expenses incurred for the running of the scheme.
As has been said we need to make sure all the existing members are transferred over to a new scheme and that the value of any new scheme is explained and sold to supporters to buy into.
I appreciate the people setting up the scheme for so many years. I used to pay into VIQI but never got any real information. When the club scrapped the academy I decided to stop paying l.
Now we have both a risk of losing members but also a great opportunity. Hold updates for members, send out a quarterly news letter. Make the people who pay in feel like they are part of something. That's what we are lacking at the moment in my opinion and have been for quite a while.
The statement from the Club does seem to suggest that they were not happy not having full information about the funds held by VIQI and its income stream. This seems to suggest that the Club were looking to control the VIQI resources.
In my view, the independence of VIQI from the Club was one of its strengths, in that it decided on behalf of its members what was contributed to the club to help player retention/acquisition. The transparency of the VIQI with its own members is another question.
I suspect that the role of VIQI changed when it became the focus of fundraising to save the club from financial meltdown. Before then, it was basically fan-funded sponsorship of players.
In my view, it would be a mistake for the Club to want to run the scheme or to use any funding for the day to day running of the Club. I don’t know what process needs to be put in place, but it needs to be in place when VIQI closes in August; and it should managed by a Board/Group of supporters with representation from the Club, but independent of the Club.
One sure fire way of losing contributors is to allow the club to treat the income generated as another income stream to be used at their discretion.
Looks like the club have already made their decision. I think they're missing a trick NOT asking those who currently pay, how they would prefer it to be done.
"Following the announcement from VIQI that they have decided to formally close as of 1st August 2022, we would like to confirm that new plans are in development for supporters to continue to help contribute to the club financially and continue the growth that we have worked hard on in recent years.
We greatly appreciate the hard work done by the supporters of VIQI in raising a huge amount of money for the club, and would like to take this opportunity to thank every single supporter who donated towards VIQI to help maintain our club as we recovered through a hugely difficult period in our history.
VIQI aimed to ensure our club’s financial stability and contributed hugely towards doing so. Having achieved that goal, we are now striving towards the heights that we all know this great club can reach.
When Widnes Vikings entered administration, our magnificent
supporters were desperate to give funds to their club to save it from the brink of extinction. The current Widnes Vikings Board felt that VIQI could achieve this swiftly as it had an independent bank account to safely collect donations from fans. VIQI would represent the amazing generosity of more than a thousand supporters coupled with and the actions of the Widnes Vikings Board and initial investors and shareholders at the Vikings.
The new system being introduced will be an improvement on the previous scheme. The club have experienced challenges with that system, as we have sought clarity on fundamental information such as membership numbers and drop off-rates, the monthly income received by VIQI, and its overall funding levels held.
This new system will be completely transparent with our members with regards to membership and donation figures. Supporters will be able to donate in the same way as they did with VIQI, via a membership scheme that feeds directly to the club to ensure that all funds are used in order to continue the growth of our club and strengthen our playing squad.
Widnes fans have amply demonstrated in recent times their determination to support the club when considerable setbacks have occurred. The Widnes Board are hopeful that the fans will assist the club again by ensuring the continuation of the support which has steadied the ship financially, to take this next step and grow together as a club and as a town.
We are dedicated to finding new ways to support the ongoing growth and success of Widnes Vikings and are excited to work with you, our supporters, to achieve the best future that we can for the club that we all love.
Details of the new donation system will be announced in the coming weeks as we look to take the next step in bringing the successes this club truly deserves together, in the clearest and best way possible.
Widnes Vikings Board of Directors"
Thank you to the dedicated people behind VIQI. Let's hope us supporters can continue to help the club financially so we can go from strength to strength.
" used in order to continue the growth of our club"
There's the line that tells you the club will spend the money how it wants, new car for the CEO, raises for xy and z, couple of new positions in the office so we look like a "pro" company on paper
Not saying any of that will happen but now there's absolutely nothing to stop it happening
As I recall Backhouse walked away from the club as they would not tell him what his money was going towards or even which players they were after
Got a feeling lots of VIQI members will do the same
via a membership scheme that feeds directly to the club to ensure that all funds are used in order to continue the growth of our club and strengthen our playing squad.
Are they suggesting that all funds are not used to frow the club now or not in tge way tge owners want.
Every penny should be spent on playing staff. You won't be getting any more of my money if this is not the case.
As I have said before, tge fans of Widnes through VIQI has put more money into the club than all the other directors put together and are the main reason the club exists today